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Supporting small businesses: What I’ve learnt from working at home

Supporting small businesses: What I’ve learnt from working at home

By Lauren Baker

COVID-19 is having a huge impact on all elements of life, including work. Many businesses are struggling, and for those who are lucky enough to be able to, a transition has been made to working from home.

On Friday, just like many other companies, SQN completed its first week of this. One thing became very clear to me, even within the first day: the importance of communication.

As a Junior Account Executive, I help our clients to tell their story, ensuring that they keep engaged with their audiences, and maintain a positive perception amongst stakeholders, media and customers.

However, just like the communications challenges faced by our clients, we had to adapt and respond accordingly to ensure our own internal comms didn’t suffer.

In the office, I’m used to being able to ask questions across the desk and get immediate answers, taking minimal time out of our day. I’m now having to adjust to an environment where instant face-to-face interaction is just not possible.

Now, as a company, we have to practice what we preach to our clients; communication is more important than ever before.

The first thing I have realised though is how long proactive conversation takes to stay in normal communication with each other. Typing over Teams rather than talking across the desk can take far longer when a colleague is unable to reply. This could be down to them being on a call or simply stepping away from their desk to make a coffee.

Something I think has helped to overcome this issue is a daily team meeting. This allows us to work out the priorities for the day and know when calls or client meetings are happening. I can also get an instant response for anything I need to ask the whole office.

The importance of face to face contact has also become apparent to me. Our office was a social environment I currently don’t have, so by holding our daily meeting over Zoom I can still see everyone, even if it’s virtually! It might not be for as long, but it helps provide a few laughs in the morning along with making sure we are all out of bed…

A final learning I’ve had is the importance of exercise and taking time away from your desk throughout the day. The perfect solution for this is a lunchtime walk – helping me enjoy the fresh air and keeping active. I’ve even heard some offices doing walking meetings over phone or Facetime.

Working from home isn’t always the ideal situation. There will be great difficulties and limitations, so it’s about working and adapting to what you’ve got. Getting into and embracing a new routine as soon as possible and making sure you communicate with your team is essential in this.

Business will always be business, but during unprecedented times like the current, the importance of community and learning from one another becomes essential. Just like thousands of small businesses around the world, we are learning about and adapting to this new situation every day. Now is not the time for staying silent behind our laptops at home, it is the time for transparency, communication and support to ensure we all benefit and continue to thrive.